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City special events were discussed at an Aug. 25 Glendale City Council workshop.

Glendale’s 2019 festival season events attracted 148,000 visitors to the downtown area, according to Special Events Director Jim Burke.

Heidi Barriga of the Special Events department presented council with financial analysis of Glendale’s 2019 special events, including the newly branded Chocolate Experience Event.

Barriga said the 2020 special events operating budget was slightly more than $1 million.

Additionally, Barriga said the city staffs four full-time special events employees at a cost of $423,083. 

Barriga said the 2019 Glendale Glitters Spectacular Weekend had an operating budget of $124,914. Barriga said event expenses totaled $117,525. 

The 2019 Glendale Glitter and Glow had an operating budget of $106,001. Barriga said event expenses were $83,014.

The 2019 Downtown in December event had an operating budget of $56,805. Barriga said event expenses totaled $35,023. 

A new month-long event series, Live at Murphy Park, was allocated $90,000 for April 2020. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the series was postponed.

Barriga said the all-new 2019 Chocolate Experience had an operating budget of $50,000. Barriga said event expenses totaled $48,192. Barriga said the city earned $1,294 from the event.

Mayor Jerry Weiers said the report was not complete. 

“We have other costs involved … that is not being shown on transportation, police, sanitation,”  Weiers said.  “Unfortunately, I wish that we had that, because I think it would make a lot more sense.”

Councilman Jamie Aldama said the benefits of events are hard to quantify.  “There is a lot more value to putting on the events in downtown than just revenue,” Aldama said, “I just want to be sure that our citizens that are watching and listening, the events that I know of, weren’t solely to gain revenue.”

The 2020 Chocolate Experience, formerly known as the Chocolate Affaire, was held in early February inside Glendale Civic Center.

Councilman Bart Turner expressed concerns about the Chocolate Experience.

Turner said he received communication from his constituents that the event did not live up to its billing.

“I don’t want people to think that the ones who had a different point of view are being ignored,” Turner said. “I think we should acknowledge that.”

City Manager Kevin Phelps said funds for canceled 2020 events could be moved to other events.

The tentative 2020-21 Glendale Downtown Events schedule: Glendale Glitters Spectacular Weekend, Nov. 27-28; Downtown in December, December (monthlong); Glendale Glitter and Glow, Jan. 9; the Chocolate Experience, Feb. 13-14; Live at Murphy Park March-April.